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Statistics on rice in Haiti

If we ask “What is main food in Haiti to Haitian, most of them may say “rice”. This is because it can be seen a part of main course at the local restaurant. However, it was not major element of the contemporary food a few decades ago.

【Typical Haitian meal】

Data shows that milled rice domestic consumption in Haiti in 1980 was 63,000 metric tons while that in 2014 recorded 490,000 metric tons, increased by almost 8 times (*1). In contrast, there is almost no change statistically in milled domestic rice production per year. It shows 62,000 metric tons in 1980, compared with 69,000 metric tons in 2014 (*2).

As a factor of increase in rice consumption, effect of government policy can be given. In the past, Haiti has fed rice by themselves. However, in the mid-1990s, Haitian government reduced import tariff on rice from 35% to 3% under the guidance of trade liberalization policy by IMF. After that, American rice which is low-cost and highly-subsidized, has flooded into domestic market. It caused to decrease the price of domestic rice, unable to compete with them (*3). Today, Haiti is the fifth largest importer of American rice in the world (*4). Haiti imports 80% of rice it consumes (*5).

Even though there are other elements that rice consumption has increased, at least government policy has an impact that rice has become typical meal among Haitian. 

【Imported rice from US that is sold in the town of market】

(*1)Haiti Milled Rice Domestic Consumption by Year (index mundi, 2015)
(*2)Haiti Milled Rice Production by Year (index mundi, 2015)
(*3)Country profile – Haiti(New Agriculturist, 2007)
(*4)Beyond Aid: The Flood of Rice in Haiti(Poverty cure, 2013)
(*5)Haiti no longer grows much of its own rice (Oxfam America, 2008)

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May 7, 2015 in Haiti |